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AUSTIN, TX-Transwestern is now overseeing two class B office portfolios totaling 897,057 square feet. DivcoWest Real Estate Investments is turning over the management reins of its 460,600-square foot portfolio to Transwestern, while financial institution UNUM Group has charged Transwestern with management and leasing of its 436,457 portfolio, which is in receivership from former owner Equastone.

Transwestern Austin office senior vice president and city leader Robert Gaston tells GlobeSt.com that the deals came about through existing relationships with both Unum and Equastone. He says Transwestern worked with UNUM in the 1990s on a distressed shopping center, increased its value, then sold it. “We created value for UNUM back in the 1990s, and now they’re looking for a repeat,” Gaston remarks.

This time, however, the value-add action will take place in UNUM’s five-building portfio, which once belonged to Equastone. Gaston says UNUM’s goal is to aggressively pursue lease transactions to increase the portfolio’s value. UNUM is an interesting lender, Gaston comments, in that the company understands ownership. “Our past relationship with UNUM showed that they know how to hold real estate, create value, and sell when the time is right,” he remarks. “They’re savvy real estate professionals.”

As an aside, Gaston says Equastone still owns and operates two assets in Austin, and Transwestern is handling the management and leasing on both.

The UNUM portfolio consists of the 254,972-square-foot Northview Business Center; the 50,021-square-foot Cameron Creek, the 34,514-square-foot Southeast Commercial and the 96,950-square-foot Summit Park A&B. Existing tenants include AT&T, Verizon, Texas Workforce Commission and CustomerLinx Corp. The portfolio is about 25 years old, and is around 50% occupied.

Meanwhile, DivcoWest approached Transwestern because of Transwestern’s relationship with Equastone. “We were managing and leasing Bergstrom Tech Center, which belonged to Equastone, and DivcoWest watched us from affar,” Gaston explains. “Effectively, Divco got to know us by watching us and seeing how we handled ourselves.”

DivcoWest’s 7-building portfolio consists of the 265,737-square-foot Parmer Business Park A-F and the 203-884-square-foot Bergstrom Tech Center Building 312. Sun MicroSystems leases all six buildings at Parmer Business Park, while the other building is vacant.

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